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Support Care Cancer. 2018 Jul;26(7):2177-2184. doi: 10.1007/s00520-017-4041-9. Epub 2018 Jan 27.

Physical activity barriers, preferences, and beliefs in childhood cancer patients.

Author information

1
Section of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Yale School of Medicine, PO Box 208064, 333 Cedar Street, LMP-2073, New Haven, CT, 06520-8064, USA.
2
Department of Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
3
Department of Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA.
4
Department of Psychology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, USA.
5
Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT, USA.
6
Yale Center for Analytical Sciences, New Haven, CT, USA.
7
Section of Pediatric Cardiology, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
8
Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA.
9
Section of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Yale School of Medicine, PO Box 208064, 333 Cedar Street, LMP-2073, New Haven, CT, 06520-8064, USA. nina.kadan-lottick@yale.edu.
10
Yale Cancer Center, New Haven, CT, USA. nina.kadan-lottick@yale.edu.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Childhood cancer patients report low physical activity levels despite the risk for long-term complications that may benefit from exercise. Research is lacking regarding exercise barriers, preferences, and beliefs among patients (1) on- and off-therapy and (2) across the age spectrum.

METHODS:

Cross-sectional study in the Yale Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Clinic (October 2013-October 2014). Participants were ≥ 4 years old, > 1 month after cancer diagnosis at < 20 years, not acutely ill, expected to live > 6 months, and received chemotherapy and/or radiation. Participants (or parents if < 13 years) completed a survey.

RESULTS:

The 162 patients (99% participated) were 34% children (4.0-12.9 years), 31% adolescents (13.0-17.9 years), and 35% adults (≥ 18 years). Most had leukemia/lymphoma (66%); 32% were on-therapy. On-therapy patients were more likely than off-therapy patients (73 vs. 48%; p = 0.003) to report ≥ 1 barrier related to physical complaints, such as "just too tired" (46 vs. 28%; p = 0.021) or "afraid" of injury (22 vs. 9%; p = 0.027). The majority preferred walking (73%), exercising at home (91%), exercising in the afternoon (79%), and a maximum travel time of 10-20 min (54%); preferences did not vary significantly by therapy status or age. Most respondents (94%) recognized the benefits of exercise after cancer, but 50% of on- vs. 12% of off-therapy patients believed "their cancer diagnosis made it unsafe to exercise regularly" (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Physical activity barriers pertaining to physical complaints and safety concerns were more pronounced in on-therapy childhood cancer patients but persisted off-therapy. Preferences and beliefs were relatively consistent. Our data can inform interventions in different patient subgroups.

KEYWORDS:

Childhood cancer; Long-term follow-up care; Physical activity; Survivorship

PMID:
29383508
DOI:
10.1007/s00520-017-4041-9

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